Loyal customers not only visit and spend more often but also offer free word of mouth promotion. Yet why is it that there are still many small businesses who continue running after new customers as a means to augment the bottom line?

If you want your business to be successful in today’s competitive market, you must understand how relationships truly work, and how to build them. Just because you land customers doesn’t automatically mean you will keep them. That said, here are seven great ways that can help you deepen customer relationships, build greater levels of trust and establish stronger customer loyalty.

Identify and understand your brand

Your brand goes beyond your logo; it has to delve into the emotional and sensory level of the business. Bear in mind that your brand is what your business is known for, how you interact with customers, and what people expects you to continually deliver.

Think of how a customer talks about you to a friend or family. Without a speck of doubt, you would want to hear them saying things like, “The staff is knowledgeable and friendly,” or “They ensure that my needs are met, going out of their way to find the best solution for me.”

By identifying what your brand truly is and leveraging it, not only can you generate customer loyalty but you also gain more referrals.

Anticipate customer wishes

When you are able to meet your customer’s expectation before it was even expressed, will make them feel that they are treated specially and individually. This task doesn’t have to be difficult when you just pay attention to your customers and approach them in a more personal way.

The cared-for feeling customers get when their wishes are anticipated is where you can engender unwavering loyalty.

Make a connection

A recent survey revealed that 71 percent of consumers who break business relationship off did so because of a less satisfactory customer service experience. And while a large number of the population are turning into online shopping, further research shows that consumers in today’s wired world still seek for a conversation with a real staff as part of their shopping experience.

Despite what you think, technology can help you foster a connection. For instance, automated phone systems where well-trained customer service representatives do call-backs can help you communicate with your customers better and thereby earning their loyalty.

Know which relationships work

Not everyone that do business with you means worthy of your efforts. Your mission is to build the right kind of relationship with each individual. This can be quite a task, but ultimately well worth the effort. When you develop the skill at reading people, it will be easy for you to determine which relationships you should foster and not.

Bank on the results

While an exceptional interpersonal skill and nurturing a solid customer relationship are both essential in establishing customer loyalty, customers value more the tangible results – something they can see, feel, rely on and vouch for.

No matter how often customers visit your shop and purchase your products or services, you must keep in mind that your business personality is not the sole reason why they keep on coming back. It’s primarily because you have gained their trust and they have seen the results they desire that made it worth their while to continue as your customer.

Be Transparent

People appreciate organisations that are open and honest. Whether it is good information or a bad one, let your customers be informed of the things going around your company. You don’t want your customers to feel that you are hiding something from them or screwing them over with obscure pricing and baffling return policies. One of the best ways to establish trust and loyalty is by being genuine and transparent.

Encourage your people to be the best

Allow and motivate your staff to behave naturally, acting like real people. Training customer service representatives is good but allowing them to act like robots with all those fake smiles, memorized lines and compulsory “have a nice day” is in fact not a good way to approach customers in a personal level.

Acting naturally may lead to some mistakes or inefficiencies but this is the type of business customers can easily relate to.